The Globe Trotter
Acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson reveals his ultimate running spots on the planet.
Swedish-Ethiopian celeb chef Marcus Samuelsson is best known for the fried chicken, meatballs and apple pie that he serves at his lauded New York City restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem (and also for his style and social consciousness, and for pleasing the palates of Obamas and Clintons alike). But one of the most interesting tidbits gleaned from his excellent new memoir, Yes, Chef, is how the master cook stays so slim: He runs every morning, whether he’s in Addis Ababa or outside New York. Here, his favorite places to run around the globe:
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
"There is nothing like running through the middle of Addis early in the morning before it gets too hot. The city is packed with people running — running to church, to the market — and some are barefoot, some are wearing cowboy boots that some Westerner probably gave them. You'll even see people running with an Adidas shoe on one foot and a Nike one on the other. I'm a pretty fast runner — I can run a mile in 6 minutes — but in Ethiopia I have people wearing two pairs of jeans (because they're cold) looking back at me and telling me to keep up."
New York City
"I love to run in Central Park, especially after Labor Day when runners are training for the marathon. You see groups that are handicapped, groups that are overweight, but are committed to getting healthy, and I even once saw a Japanese dance crew doing moves as they went around the loop. What I love about being in the park is that everyone is happy. You carry the mood you feel in the park throughout your day and into the bustling city."
"This is a beautiful city to run in — actually it's more of a town than a big city. You can run from the train station over to the palace, then through the old town and up to an area where a lot of artists reside. Every time you look up you'll just see something more beautiful than the next."
"It's naturally kind of scary to run past all these wild animals in South Africa’s safari lands, but I'm very happy when I run in Africa on the red clay. These beautiful beasts are all around and you feel a bit exposed, but they have no interest in you unless you interrupt them — they'll just keep on doing what they've been doing."
"Running in Smögen, where I have a home, is a completely different type of running for me. You run on hills, and it smells like salt because it's right by the water. The air is quiet, and all you hear is the sound of birds diving into the water to hunt for fish. My route takes me past my father's house, through a little dirt road and onto a rocky hill where only wild chives grow. I run this path until there are no more houses to run past."